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A thirst for God
January 23, 2012
by Rev. Keith E. Carlson, Evangelical Covenant Church Dassel

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” – Psalm 42:1-2

These words of Scripture have become familiar to us in a chorus we use often in worship. They are words that speak to the passion of our heart, as we strive to make sense out of the world in which we live today.

Our modern world, with all its technologies and attractive comforts, should be very satisfying to the cravings of our hearts, yet we often find ourselves looking for more to satiate our longings.

We identify with the “deer” that has run and run and run, until it is panting from thirst and desires the refreshing cool drink from a mountain stream.

Most of us have been on the run – that is, we have been pressured and hounded by all manner of forces, until we think being short of breath is normal. This spiritual drought of breath gets the best of us.

In the opening verse of the 42nd Psalm, we find a clear image, the image of a deer, exhausted, dehydrated, and thirsty.

The psalmist is saying, “I am like the deer, I feel spiritually spent and thirsty.”

It is the perennial problem of the unsatisfied human spirit in its thirst for God. The author is driven by the pursuit of God, and will be satisfied by nothing less than a direct encounter with the Almighty. He wants God himself.

Today, it seems that men and women, like the psalmist, are on a quest for God. Millions are feeling “spiritually dehydrated and thirsty,” seeking to feel significant and wondering, “Where are you Lord?”

Are you in all those thousands of electronic wires, in the cacophony of sound, in all the e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter posts? Are you in the most recent video workshop, inspirational conference or the latest popular literature? Where can one run to find you, O God?

I firmly believe that only Jesus is able to respond to our search for significance, and quench our thirst for God. Jesus understands our deep longings.

These are His promises to you and me:

• “ . . . whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:14

• “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” – John 7:37-38